Marlin girls making progress on the ice
Mitchell Marlins first-year head coach Jessica Rezac has a good problem to have.
"I have got a group of really hard workers," said Rezac, who is a former Marlin junior varsity coach. "They put in the time. They put in the effort. Ultimately, they are putting in all that time so that they can win."
The Marlins, who went 7-13-1 last season, are led by four seniors and then have a host of underclassmen. Mitchell has 14 total players, which will force many players to learn on the fly.
"They are getting a lot of fast experience right away, which is good for them," Rezac said. "It would be nice to have a JV to develop that a little more, but they are keeping up with it."
The four seniors are Kyla Konfrst, Adrionna Long, Shannen Koch and Ashley Zimmer.
"They have all played I think five-plus years," Rezac said. "So we've got some really good leadership up in the senior class."
Konfrst and Long are forwards. Konfrst recorded 13 points last season, including five goals. Long six points and four assists. Koch and Zimmer anchor Mitchell's defense. Zimmer also has experience playing goalie and Rezac calls her "our swiss army knife," because of her versatility. Zimmer notched seven assists and seven goals last season.
"It's Ashley's first year playing full time 'D,' " Rezac said. "She's really stepped up back there."
All-state junior goalie Katelyn Uithoven returns after recording 528 saves and three shutouts last season.
"It really gives the girls some confidence out on the ice to know they've got somebody good between the pipes that's going to be able to handle those shots coming," Rezac said. "It's really a team effort this year. There's no one all-star. Everybody has to work together."
The goal for the Marlins is to finish in the top three at state. Rezac said that goal is attainable this season, with Brookings, Aberdeen and Sioux Falls among the favorites.
"If we can play all the way through the game and not have a second-period slump or get tired in the third period, we can take any team in this state," Rezac said.
The Marlins host Watertown at 8 tonight.